Location: Approaching Newcastle, running from Floods
Day number: 127
So, continuing from my previous post which was half done, after Phillip Island, we continued along the south coast to the Mount Wilson Promonotory, and climbed up one of the larger mountains to see the view from the most south part of the Australian Mainland. Well, the clouds were thick, and below us, so we saw a rare sight... something you usually only see from a plane. Some great pictures, just a sea of cloud beneath us.
We didn't stay long due to the weather, and decided to start heading for Canberra via the snowy mountains, where it was absolutely freezing cold but some stunning sights. I took pity on the other two and, ignoring the no fire ban without a permit sign, put my bushcraft skills to use and lit a fire.
The next day we made a beeline for Canberra, where Mike, Cathy, Sam and Abi took pity on us and let us sleep in the rumpus room. Oh the joys at being warm and not wet! We're now eternally indebted to them. All of us were sick from the damp and the cold, so it gave us a chance to recover.
We visited the sites in Canberra and stayed a few days there, Jerome and I chopping wood for the fire to help pay for our accommodation. I received my birthday present from my parents aswell: a new Galaxy Tab. Shortly after, we decided to head on towards Sydney.
Sydney was how I remembered it, I was sick when we arrived, so while Jérome and Aya headed for a walk along the Harbour Bridge, I curled up on the back seat of the van and sniffed and coughed. I'm better now though!
We did a lot of walking around Sydney, and I'm pleased to say I saw more of the city this time. Annoyingly no real places to keep the van, so we moved to a new petrol station each night (and a weighbridge one night) and took the train into the city each day.
We did a lot of window shopping, or at least Aya did. Jerome and I wandered around the city, mostly by ourselves. I took a ferry over to Manly and walked up to the point. Just took a bunch of pictures really.
Because of Aya's birthday, I took her out to lunch at a nice sushi place, and we had a really nice dinner. We found this posh food court on the upper floors of a Myer centre, hidden from the world. It was the second half of her present (the first being that accursed penguin).
Soon enough, Sydney was over, we had run out of places to hide the van at night, and we headed north towards Newcastle after a pointless detour to the Blue Mountains (horrible weather).
Newcastle is larger than Cairns (4 times the size even) but it's CBD was pathetic. Seriously, Swindon has a bigger and better shopping district than it! We drove up to the point and of course picked the windiest spot in the surrounding 50km to try and cook our lunch, not helped by the fact the gas bottle was pretty much empty.
We headed north again towards Nimbin, and had a wander around the famous weed town. Jerome and I got offered 'Some marijuana dude?' a couple of times, plus a 'cookies?' by a guy by the bus stop in a hopeful voice. Other than that, it was quiet and quite a boring place to be honest with you. Jerome was dissapointed that it didn't live up to his expectations of a crack den, and so we headed off towards Byron Bay. Possibly just as famous as nimbin for the illegal drugs.
We parked up in a really nice little beach hut resort just south of Byron Bay, the owners telling me over the phone to just head on in and find a place and pay them the next morning as they wouldn't be there. As it was a Jucy Deal, we had a really nice place to stay for just $5 a night, so we were all quite happy.
We walked around Byron the next day, and I sent off my broken tablet to be fixed after wrapping it up in about 400 miles of bubble wrap. I managed to get some wax for my braces, so my gums could recover a little (downside is that it's bright blue. I didn't care, I would have given the woman my firstborn child in return for the stuff I was in so much pain). I started hunting for a bag so I would have a place to put my tablet after it returned to me so I wouldn't have the screen crack issue a second time. I found one in a small pharmacy in the gold coast, but that comes further down the post.
We left Byron after a couple of days, and decided to swing by surfers paradise, walking along the first beach we ever walked along on the road trip. It seemed to be a fitting end to our two month trip. We headed to Aya's old place and pick up her mail before walking around the CBD and having our final dinner with Jerome in a little italian place that gave us free starters and dessert trying to outbid the restaurant next door.
We bid farewell to Jerome in Brisbane the next day and Aya and I headed for the YHA I stayed in last time I was in Brisbane. Jerome wanted to borrow the van to go and see his ex girlfriend, so we got out of his way for the night. The next day we met up again, Aya and I took the van, and Jerome went off to stay with his family for the week.
Not much happened that week. I accepted a job in Sydney, and we walked around Brisbane looking at the shops and markets while staying in a little backpackers that had a Jucy deal.
This morning we checked out, I booked into the YHA, and we returned our van to Jucy after 2 months of having it. We had done 14 thousand kilometres, travelled around a good portion of the country, seen amazing sights and had an amazing time. I gave away the extra stuff I had bought for the van I didn't need any more, and we headed back to the train station to say good bye to Jerome for the final time.
Aya and I headed back on the train to Brisbane and met up with Soon-im, who took us to a Korean restaurant in Brisbane for our final meal together. Afterwards, we grabbed a coffee and headed for the Greyhound desk. Aya boarded, and I waved goodbye, almost crying. God I'm such a sap when it comes to saying bye to people.
Anyhow, I said bye to Soon-im, and then headed here, to the YHA. Where I now type this.
Thank you to you, the reader of this, I apologise for being an awful writer and almost never keeping this updated when I say I will. I have not written nearly as much as I hoped to, but the point of this was not to bring my trip to you, it was to hopefully tempt you into wanting to come and travel yourself, to see the amazing things I've seen and to have an adventure.
The words and the pictures are ghosts of what I've seen and done, and I took them not to capture the moment, but to remind me of what it was. I just wish my memory was perfect, so I would never forget a thing.
I fly to Sydney tomorrow morning, to work for 6 months. After that time, I will start the blog again, as I leave for Asia, and then onwards to my next destination before finally heading to university. I'm still out here trying to find myself, hopefully I've been an interesting read while I've been doing so.
Thank you again, I'm so glad I've met my amazing travel friends Jerome and Cecile and my beautiful girlfriend Aya, and I hope to meet many more people.
I'll stop rambling now. I hope to see you all in six months.